Networking for Recruiters: How to Find Candidates Through Face-to-Face Connections

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Job seekers often turn to networking when looking for new positions. When you need a new job, reaching out to friends, family, and your social media connections is often the best way to find one.

But networking is not just for job seekers. In fact, networking can be a goldmine for recruiters on the hunt for qualified candidates in the job market. While many recruiters and hiring managers use LinkedIn and other social sites to network with potential candidates, there are other tactics that can yield talent as well. Here are four you may want to try for yourself:

1. Be an Active Alumnus

Networking is all about making connections. One way to do so is by establishing common ground with your contacts.

Education can be a great source of such common ground. Stay in touch with dorm room acquaintances, your favorite professors, and others you meet at college. One of these people could be just the candidate you need to fill an open role.

You can also forge connections with people who didn’t attend the same school but have ties to your alma mater in other ways. For example, consider striking up conversations with people who attended rival schools. You can connect over that rivalry and build on that association.

You can also use the alumni connections of other employees to your advantage. For example, if a candidate attended the same school as someone already on the team, you can connect the two to further strengthen the relationship between candidate and potential employer.

2. Participate in Your Community

When you’re active in your local community, you meet all kinds of influential people who can help you source candidates for various positions. Some ways to start getting involved in the community include joining or working with the chamber of commerce, participating in volunteer opportunities, or attending other local events.

Participating in the community has the added bonus of boosting your company’s (or client’s) visibility in the area, which should also help attract more candidates.

3. Put Down Your Phone and Talk

What you are you doing in the checkout line at the grocery store, or in the waiting room at the dentist? People tend to turn to their phones in these situations, but what if you started a conversation with a stranger instead?

That’s what one man, Steinar Skipsnes, did every day for an entire year. His project, Daily Hello, helped him meet a host of interesting people – including one who became an investor in Skipsnes’s company.

Imagine if recruiters resolved to meet one new person every day for an entire year. Out of those 365 people, you’re bound to find at least a few who could make for good candidates. Moreover, plenty of those people will be able to refer you to others who may be matches for your open roles.

4. Strengthen Key Relationships

Is there someone in your network who seems to consistently refer great candidates to you? Have you developed a relationship with a key industry influencer on social media? Take the time to nurture relationships such as these. Meet up with people in person. Whenever someone helps you out, try to return the favor.

You can also develop helpful relationships with other recruiters. This works best when you each specialize in a different niche. That way, recruiters can send to you candidates who fit your niche, and you can send to them candidates who fit theirs.

Finally, you should also nurture relationships with qualified candidates who don’t quite fit your open roles just yet. Maintain contact so that, when a new opportunity arises, you can reach out.

While social media is an excellent networking tool for recruiters and hiring managers, don’t disregard the power of face-to-face networking. Use your education, participate in local events, and strike up conversations with strangers. You never know where you might stumble across your next great candidate.

By creating and maintaining connections with key professionals, you can develop a large pool of talent to draw from as needed.

Rachel Stones is a blog writer for Built for Teams.

By Rachel Stones